Batik - Ancient Painting Tradition

Batik is an exclusive, ancient painting form. Batik paintings represent a very unique art form, involving various figures and patterns drawn on the pieces of fabrics.


These paintings are believed to have originated in Indonesia wherein the original word referred to the dots on clothes. Batik represents the wax-resist dye technique, used in textiles. This art is believed to be more than one thousand years old. Batik art work is widely practiced in regions like Java (Indonesia) and India. India is known for its rich tradition in Batik paintings and truly exquisite works of Batik art continue to be procured from different regions of India.

Batik Artists

Batik artists make use of dyes as color. This is an integral part of the batik art work. A batik artist should have a good sense of the colors and patterns. For creating an attractive piece of Batik painting, the batik artist works with more emphasis on color, wherein multiple layers of wax and dye is applied to the fabric.

Process Involved

Batik is an elaborate three-stage process which involves stages like waxing, dyeing and also dewaxing (removing the wax). There are other sub-processes as well like preparing the cloths and the designs, where the cloth is stretched on the frame followed by waxing the area of the cloth that does not need dyeing. This involves preparing the dye, dipping the cloth in the dye and eventually boiling the cloth for removing wax and washing of the dyed cloth in soap. The entire process of waxing, dyeing and de-waxing is even repeated multiple times until the whole batik design or fabric is completed. The waxed areas would retain their original color and after wax is removed, the contrast levels between the dyed and the non-dyed areas give an attractive pattern. The characteristic designs of batik are observed due to the fine cracks appearing in the wax, which ensures that the small amounts of the dye, actually seeps in. Batik waxing is considered an important part of the entire process of batik printing.

Fabrics Used

The common batik fabrics which are used for excellent batik prints are poplin, voiles, cambric, and pure silk. Natural colors that are derived from barks of trees, flower, leaves, and minerals are also used. Batik is also made in several ways such as screen-printing method, splash method, and the hand painting one with the help of a Kalamkari pen.

Varieties Available in Batik

Traditionally, the Batik paintings are made of dark brown, indigo and white colors, representing the three major Hindu Gods i.e. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Batik printed saris, kurtis and wrappers are some of the most preferred choices among the fashion loving people. Indian cotton and dyes are considered very popular for use in Batik.

Each piece of Batik painting has a unique feel as a result of the endless combinations of the dye coloring, wax effects and the fabric types. The Batik painting technique also involves great precision and concentration. Batik wall hangings are considered a hot favorite with the art lovers.